Coronavirus lockdown fanned the air to the war undercurrents that had been flowing between the big-screen cinema and the OTT platforms.
Movie Theatres Worst Hit By Coronavirus Lockdown
Movie theatres have experienced the worst hit in the lockdown. Movies ready for release were put on hold. The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) had urged the artists, content creators, producers, and studio partners to withhold the release and support the cinema sector and release the movies on the big screen only when the ban is lifted.
‘Gulabo Sitabo’ featuring Amitabh Bachchan To be Released on Amazon Prime Video
Despite the appeal by MAI, Gulabo Sitabo, a film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurana is set to premiere globally on Amazon Prime Video on June 12th. Originally, the film was to be released on big screens on April 17th. The decision however has not gone well with many stakeholders and multiplex chains. Inox and PVR Picture have expressed their displeasure and disappointment towards the release on OTT platforms. Noted director Shoojit Sircar called this move as the dawn of the new entertainment era in India.
OTT Model Financially Unviable for Big Budget Movies
Atul Mohan, a film trade analyst says that the film business model works in a way that the making cost is recovered through theatre release in India, the PR cost is released from the overseas market release, and profits are made through satellite sales and digital release. Just releasing the movie on a digital platform will not be enough and the producers would not want to part with Rs.100 crore to Rs. 150 crores that they would be recovering through theatre release.
OTT vs. Cinema- Who Will Win the Race?
Low budget movies can still afford to release on OTT platforms to meet their expenses and earn marginal revenues. However, for high budget movies in the category of Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 300 crore budget, it is not financially viable to release their movies on OTT platforms. These movies will have to wait for the theatres to open after India flattens its Coronavirus curve. The government and the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) are discussing the opportunities of opening theatres with 50% occupancy after lockdown 4.
Opening of Theatres Post Lockdown
Discussions are on with the Government and theatres may likely open with new safety norms that take care of social distancing and reduce the number of shows to create a safer viewing experience.
Ghoomeketu Released on Zee5
Meanwhile, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Anurag Kashyap starrer Ghoomketu was released on Zee5. The movie features Amitabh Bachchan in a cameo.